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Building a personal learning toolkit

Page history last edited by David Porter 12 years, 7 months ago

This lesson allows you explore and experiment with personal technologies for learning. You can build your own personal learning toolkit based on your explorations.


Before we explore the OER world further, it would be a good idea for you to begin to select tools with which to build your own personal learning tool kit. With these tools you'll be able to explore the Internet, keep notes and capture ideas from web sites you visit.


Becoming a networked teacher and learner


Networked Teacher Diagram - Update 

Dr. Alec Couros of the University of Regina proposes that teachers need to become "network learners" themselves.


Click on the diagram to see a larger version, its source location and the license associated with the image.



The Couros diagram of the networked teacher illustrates the many ways that teachers interact with students, colleagues, peers and other resources, both human and digital across the Internet.  In each case, these interactions are software and network-enabled.


What is important is for networked teachers to assemble a personal learning toolkit of software applications that will allow them to communicate with peers, assemble and manage digital resources, publish and share digital resources with others.



Your personal learning toolkit

One of the ways to begin to assemble your own personal toolkit is to seek advice from others who may have more knowledge. Another way to assemble your toolkit is to explore free or open source tools that might be useful to you by searching for them using the Internet.


A shortcut would be to explore collections of tools that other educators have found useful in the context of becoming a networked teacher and/or learner.


One useful resource is the OER Handbook that can be found on the WikiEducator web site.


It has a section on composing OERs that list many useful open source software packages that could be valuable resources in a personal toolkit for networked teachers.



Included are lists of software tools for:


  • Audio
  • Images
  • Learning support systems
  • Office tools
  • Web authoring
  • Video
  • Mobile access


A very good starting point would be to download and install a set of open source Office tools such as those available free from OpenOffice.org.



Activity: Exploring personal learning tools

For each of the categories below, explore the suggested free web-based tool to find out if it would fit your personal style.


If so, consider making the tool part of your personal toolkit.  If not, use the Internet to search for tools like the ones below to determine if there are others that might better suit your style or context.


Functional category Open source tools Free to use tools
Document creation and sharing   OpenOffice
Google Docs 
Browse the web and clip web pages for future reference   nevernote  Evernote 
Research tool for organizing bibliographic references  JabRef  Zotero 
Social networking, micro blogging tool for real-time connection to peers identi.ca  Twitter 
Social bookmarking service to share useful web bookmarks with peers freelish Diigo
Blogging service for posting articles, journal entries, notes and images  WordPress  Blogger 
Internet telephone and web presence tool for one-to-one or small group discussions linphone  Skype 
Online web conferencing and white-boarding with peers or students BigBlueButton WizIQ  




Couros, A. (2008). The networked educator. Available: http://www.flickr.com/photos/courosa/2922421696/ 


Wiley, D., Ed. (2008). OER Handbook. Available: http://wikieducator.org/OER_Handbook/educator_version_one 


Comments (1)

wayne mackintosh said

at 9:34 pm on Apr 3, 2011

Again, concerned about workload here (taking the target audience into account.) Not sure that learners can make a final selection after a few minutes experimentation -- I would rather tweak this as a sip and dip discovery activity.

Re the OER handbook -- just copy over the relevant pages in the context of this component of the Module -- Learners may get lost with all the links and data covered here.

I also think that its important to make a clear distinction between "no-cost" tools versus open source software solutions. Think about adding a column with FOSS alternatives.

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